Each Wednesday, I will break down FX’s ‘The People vs. O.J. Simpson,’ a fictional crime thriller set in 1990s Los Angeles, with the hopes of determining just who dun it. Today, Episode 4: 100% Not Guilty
First up, apologies, Bros! I was out of town last week and missed Episode 3: The Dream Team. Heard there was a lot of talk about evidence. Could be important later on! Maybe not!
On this week’s episode, however, not a lot is presented about our protagonist’s own guilt or innocence, instead focusing on the legal machinations of the system (which will have a crucial role to play later on, I’m sure).
At a meeting of The Juice’s legal team, his lawyers take a vote. Who thinks The Juice did it? No one raises their hand. Meanwhile, The Juice is bummed. He’s been incarcerated, with no hope of bail, which seriously rubs the former sports superstar the wrong way. It appears he used to like living the high life. Oysters. Champagne. Couches. You know. But he mopes his way through an evidentiary hearing, which clearly his lawyers do not appreciate.
So, Johnnie, a new member of his team, heads down to jail to motivate The Juice. You were The Juice, he says. You scored touchdowns. You didn’t kill people.
That’s right, says The Juice. That’s right. He develops a newfound vigor.
The prosecution team, once confident in The Juice’s guilt, is beginning to doubt itself as the case progresses. Sure, the female prosecutor, Marcia, is unwavering, but her boss doesn’t trust the case. He removes the death penalty from the table, then insists that the team hire a jury consultant. Confident in the evidence, they are not.
A judge is assigned to the case, but his spouse makes a crucial admission, not reporting a conflict of interest with one of the police officers investigating the murders.
The defense and prosecution spend the rest of the episode jostling over who will sit on the jury. In the middle of that, a sensational tell-all book by one of Nicole’s friends shakes everyone, causing a postponement.
At the end of the episode, both legal teams make personnel changes, with The Juice asking the charismatic Johnnie to be his lead counsel, after his original lead, Rob, suggests that the team be willing to admit The Juice’s guilt
The prosecution adds Chris, a black man, to their team, surprising The Juice.
The case for The Juice: In a closed door meeting, with The Juice not present, none of his lawyers say they think The Juice did it, and lawyers are pretty smart folks. You’d think if one of them had their doubts about The Juice, they’d voice it to the team, to at least help with strategy. They also find a witness who can break the prosecution’s narrative of The Juice’s location that night.
The prosecution also seems less confident in its case, resorting to polling potential jurors and shifting tactics. Pretty silly stuff if you believe in your evidence.
Plus, The Juice scored a touchdown once. A touchdown.
The case against The Juice: The Juice’s main attorney, who has been there since a day or two after the murders, Rob, asks The Juice to admit his own complicity in the crime, creating a narrative that would justify The Juice’s actions that night. If The Juice’s leader of his own team thinks there’s enough evidence to convict The Juice, perhaps he is indeed guilty, and Rob admits as much to his wife in private.
So did The Juice do it? Episode 4 ends with us having renewed faith in The Juice. He’s switched lead attorneys, unwilling to go forward with a lawyer who isn’t confident in The Juice’s own innocence. Is the because The Juice himself knows he didn’t do it?
The Verdict: There’s wasn’t not enough to convict The Juice this episode, and I must declare HUNG JURY.
Check back next Wednesday for our recap of Episode Five and let me know in the comments if you think The Juice did it. I can’t wait to find out.